Moncada headlines Players of the Week

Top overall prospect went 11-for-22 over six games for Charlotte

Yoan Moncada led all International League batters with 18 total bases over six games last week for Triple-A Charlotte. (Chris Robertson)

By Sam Dykstra / | May 8, 2017 3:45 PM

He's the game's top prospect for a reason -- well, several reasons, and they were all on display last week.

Yoan Moncada headlines the latest group of Minor League Offensive Players of the Week as the International League honoree. He went 11-for-22 (.500) with two homers, a double, four RBIs and eight runs scored over six games for Triple-A Charlotte to earn his first weekly award since May 9, 2016, with Class A Advanced Salem.

The 21-year-old second baseman collected multiple hits in four contests but saved his best performance for last by going 3-for-4 with a homer, double, two RBIs, a walk and a stolen base in a 7-1 win over Gwinnett on Sunday. 

Acquired from the Red Sox during the offseason in the deal involving Chris Sale, Moncada has hit the ground running in his first taste of Triple-A. After his hot week, Moncada ranks fourth in the IL with a .992 OPS and fifth in both on-base (.427) and slugging percentage (.565). His seven stolen bases are tied for third on the circuit.

View the Pitcher of the Week winners »

What's perhaps more important than the gaudy numbers of late are the ways in which Moncada has started to answer questions that have followed him over his first three professional seasons.

Chief among them has been contact rate, and those concerns grew when Moncada struck out in 12 of his 20 plate appearances during a September call-up with Boston last season. The native of Cuba has fanned in 26.6 percent of his 124 plate appearances with Charlotte, a number that dropped from 31.3 percent after he struck out only three times in 28 plate appearances last week. In fact, he had more walks (five) than strikeouts during his award-winning stretch.

Video: Yoan Moncada hits his sixth homer of the year

What's more, Moncada, a switch-hitter, is showing improvement in his ability to hit from the right side of the plate. In 2016, he hit .167 with two homers, a .691 OPS and 19 strikeouts in 36 at-bats against Double-A left-handers. Though the sample remains small, he's currently hitting .250 with three homers, a .906 OPS and 11 strikeouts in 32 at-bats against Triple-A southpaws.

Video: Moncada lines a double for the Knights

Given last week's performance and the rounding out of his five-tool potential, the calls for Moncada to head to Chicago's South Side will only get louder. Don't expect them to be answered soon with the White Sox, who weren't expected to compete in 2017 but are in the mix for the AL Central lead. They seem content to go with a platoon of Yolmer Sanchez and Tyler Saladino at second base until either service-time concerns go away or Moncada continues last week's pace to the point where it's clear Triple-A is no longer the test he needs.

Below is a full list of the Minor League Offensive Players of the Week for May 1-7:

League Player Team MLB Stats
International Yoan Moncada Charlotte CWS .500/.571/.818, 6 G, 11-for-22, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 8 R, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 SB
Pacific Coast Ketel Marte Reno ARI .500/.581/.769, 6 G, 13-for-26, 3 2B, 2 3B, 10 RBI, 8 R, 4 BB, 1 K, 3 SB
Eastern Rafael Devers Portland BOS .440/.500/.920, 7 G, 11-for-25, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R, 3 BB, 6 K
Southern Ian Rice Tennessee CHC .615/.688/1.462, 7 G, 8-for-13, 2 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K
Texas Tyler Marincov Midland OAK .407/.400/.815, 7 G, 11-for-27, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 CS
California Sam Hilliard Lancaster COL .417/.481/.750, 7 G, 10-for-24, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 SB, 1 CS
Carolina Elier Hernandez Wilmington KC .448/.448/.759, 6 G, 13-for-29, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, 0 BB, 10 K
Florida State Austin Riley Florida ATL .462/.483/.846, 7 G, 12-for-26, 1 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 CS
Midwest Lewin Diaz Cedar Rapids MIN .400/.423/.920, 6 G, 10-for-25, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K
South Atlantic Meibrys Viloria Lexington KC .533/.682/.600, 5 G, 8-for-15, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 3 K

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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